Archie Watson has spent his whole life around thoroughbreds. He grew up near Lambourn, the Valley of the Racehorse, and started riding out at the yard of Charlie Morlock as soon as he was old enough. After holiday stints with Alan King and Paul Webber and a summer with Graham Motion in the USA, his heart was already set on training racehorses.
On leaving school in 2007, Archie spent time working first at Shadwell Stud in Norfolk before completing a stud season at historic Windsor Park Stud in New Zealand. He spent bloodstock sale seasons working for leading consultancy Blandford Bloodstock and then travelled to South Africa. There he successfully managed a satellite yard for two seasons based in Summerveld, Kwa-Zulu Natal for leading trainer Alec Laird, handler of South African racing legend London News.
After a six month spell in California shadowing trainer Simon Callaghan, who was at the time overseeing top class Grade 1 winner Belle Royale, Archie could not resist the lure of returning to the UK in 2012 when he was offered the unique opportunity to become assistant to leading English trainer William Haggas.
Archie was able to complete his equine education at the renowned Somerville Lodge in Newmarket by learning from Haggas and his wife Maureen. Together they run one of the most successful operations in the United Kingdom, training for the likes of Cheveley Park Stud, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Her Majesty The Queen, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and Rabbah Bloodstock.
Working with a large string of horses containing plenty of quality firepower was a dream come true for Archie, who was there to witness Mukhadram winning the Group 1 Coral Eclipse for Haggas in July 2014. Further success was to follow with the likes of Besharah in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York, Storm The Stars in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes and Her Majesty The Queen’s Recorder in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes.
After four years in Newmarket, the chance arose for Archie to move back to Berkshire, where he is to take out a licence to train at historic Saxon Gate in Upper Lambourn. There, where names such as Mick Channon and National Huntlegend Fulke Walwyn enjoyed many highly successful years, is where Archie believes the time is right to embark on his own training career.
His greatest day as a trainer came during the tenth renewal of QIPCO British Champions Day. His sprinting sensation Glen Shiel providing him with Group 1 success as Hollie Doyle just prevailed in a photo finish.